Fishing in Dordogne/Périgord (department 24)

Page created: July '21 Updated: August '21

Getting right back into the hoddy after a short 30 years break!

With a dream of moving to France and spending my days fishing, painting, amongst other passtimes, well that is exactly what it turned out to be... just a dream! The reality is that in summer you are a slave to the garden and there always seems to be a job to do.

Anyway, finally, after what must be close to a 30 years gap, I finally found a moment to get back on the rod. Literally almost throwing myself in at the deepend my debut was to be a Fishing Competition in Leignes-sur-Fontaine, Vienne (department 86).

I finished 9 from 15. Not great, but I was fishing in France for my first time. I was fishing a lake (étang) that I had no prior knowledge of. I had never pole fished before, although I knew there was some Carp. It was cold and raining hard (in July!). I decided to fish with maggots that I had breeded myself as a fun project for the fishing competition. I hooked a nice roach within minutes, so the strategy was to try and bag up on lots of smaller fish and hope I could catch more than the people catching a Carpe every hour (mistake).

Where to buy your 'Fishing Permit' (Carte de Pêche) for fishing in Dordogne/Périgord while on holiday or visiting

Like most other things everything can be done online now, on the assumtion everybody has internet access and a printer! However, in true French spirit, I would deffinitely recommend that you visit a local fishing takle shop for many reasons... You will be helping to support a small business in very difficult times. Use it or lose it. You will be able to practice some French. You will get useful inside information on where to Fish.

I was recommend by a local balif (Garde-péche Particulier), and yes they do check (I hadn't even started and he turned up), to go to the fishing tackle shop in Montignac. Montignac is obviously also very famous for the UNESCO Lascaux Caves and is a beautiful town and is deffinitely worth visiting. Anyway I digress.

The fishing tackle shop 'Boisseuil Pierre', about 15 miles from our Gîte, is located at 21 rue de Juillet, 24290 Montignac. According to a search online the tackle shop is open Tuesday to Saturday 9am-12pm and 2pm-7pm. However, to avoid turning up and finding that it is closed, you can contact the shop on 06 79 63 79 90. Don't worry if your French is not up to scratch, he quickly switched to English when I was buying my fishing permit! Was my French really that bad :-). There are other shops which might be a bit closer. But this is one of those great treasure chest/hoarder type shops, packed to the gunnels with goodies and very little space to move.

If you would prefer to buy your fishing permit online, please visit the Carte de Pêche website. This is the offical membership website for the AAPPMA & Associations de pêche en France.

What type of 'Fishing Permit' should you buy?

For visitors, there are two cost effective options. A Day Fishing Permit or a Weekly Fishing Permit. Both types of permit come with the same privelages as the Anual Permit (Carte de Pêche INTERFÉDÉRALE PERSONNE MAJEURE).

At the time of writing (July '21), the Day Fishing Permit (Carte de Pêche JOURNALIÈRE) costs 15€ from the 1st January to the 30th June and reduces to 10€ from the 1st July to the 31st December. As far as I understand the Day Fishing Permit can only be used in one department e.g. 24 (Dordogne).

The Weekly Permit (Carte de Pêche HEBDOMADAIRE) costs 33€ and is valid for any 7 consecuative days in the year. Again, as far as I understand this permit can be used in 91 recipicoral departments throught France.

So what are the Carte de Pêche INTERFÉDÉRALE PERSONNE MAJEURE 'privelages'?

1. On the 2nd Category waters you can fish with up to 4 rods, which will probably be of interest to anybody wanting to fish for Carp.

2. On the 1st Category waters you can fish with 1 rod. 1st categorie waters are normally rivers containing Trout, Salmon and/or Black-bass, so juggling rods might be a bit tricky! There are also some fishing lakes with a Category 1 classification.

3. Should you need to, you can also 'pêche à l'aide de 6 balances'. What? 6 sets of scales, I wondered? So being curious I did some research. A 'balance' is like a landing net and can be used to fish for Crayfish (Écrevisses).

4. As mentioned earlier there is a reciporical agreement in place with 'Club Halieutique', which means that you can go fishish in 91 other departments throught France. I think this excludes the Day Permit though. If this is a concern I can ask more questions!

Finally, as far as I understand so far, sorry, this is all new to me for about a week! There are some rules that apply to each body of water (rivers and lakes), that can overule the permits rules and vice versa.

Like everything else in France "c'est compliqué"! For example on a Category 1 river maggots are generally forbidden (interdit). But on a Category 1 fishing lake (étang) such as Thenon, where I have just started to fish, maggots are allowed on the hook but you are forbidden to feed/prime with maggots (sans amorçage). There is no mention regarding the use of castors or worm however! According to my guide a mximum of 2 rods is permitted. However, I regulary see people Carp fishing with 4 rods. Maybe there is an exception if it obvious you are not targetting trout for example? I still need to ask the locals about this, and then I will update the web page as and when I know more.

Meanwhile over at Fossemagne, also a Category 1 classification (due to having Black-Bass I beleive) you can use a maximimum of 2 rods, rather than the one stated on the Fishing Permit. There are some restrictions though, you can fish from the 2nd Saturday in March until the 3rd Sunday in September. You are allowed to use 'Larves de Diptères' (various maggots, grubs and mealworms etc), but again it is forbidden to feed/prime with them.

Thenon Étang (Lake)

Thenon Étang is about 8 miles from the gîte. It has a surface area of approximately 2,5 ha and is an attractive lake with lots of features. On site is a bar/restaurant (La Guinguette de L'étang - visit website for reservations etc) with a handy toilette. Be like the locals and just park your car at your spot!

At the time of writing this page (July '21), I have only fished this lake for 4 short sessions of a few hours. Again, I had no knowledge of fishing Thenon Étang other than having walked around it a few times over various summers and seeing large Carp basking and jumping in the middle.

After picking my spot, I decided to immediately feed in some sweetcorn (maîs) to see if I could catch a small Carp (a bit later on in the day). I am not yet up to speed with boilies etc. I fished a maggot or two on the hook and quickly caught a few roach. Then bites faded, so I switched to the sweetcorn. I was too lazy to change hooks so I continued with a single grain of sweetcorn on a size 18 hook.

I must have done something right! Boom big fish on within minutes. Getting excited for my first ever Carp as a played the fish in I discovered it was actually a beautiful large bronzy Bream. Another 5 followed so I was very happy to call it day for my first time fishing Thenon Étang.

Returning to the same spot a few days later, using the same depth, methods and bait I caught another 5 nice Bream. So I decided to take our daughter as I thought I had found a good spot and wanted her to catch a nice sized fish. Unfortunaetly though, somebody else was already fishing in the spot. So we moved along a few pegs, but we were between trees. We got set up then it started to rain. I think we managed some small roach on maggots and a big roach on sweetcorn, much to my amazemzent.

More information about fishing at Thenon Étang can be found on the Fédération Pêche Dordogne website.

Fossemagne Étang (Lake)

Fossemagne Étang is only a short 3.4 miles drive from the gîte. It has a surface area of approximately 5 ha. It is rated as Category 1 for fishing (1ère catégorie piscicole), so it has slightly different regulations (réglementation) that apply (more about that later).

According to the Fédération Pêche Dordogne website the following types of fish are present - Roach (Gardon), Gudgeon (Goujon), Rudd (Rotengle), Zander (Sandre), Pike (Brochet), Perch (Perche) and Black-Bass. I have been told by the tackle shop owner in Montignac that there is also Catfish (Silure) present. My daughter was informed from her newly met French fishing friend that Carp are also present. So there is a wide variety of fish to target.

I have only fished Fossemagne Étang once for a couple of hours, as I was really just testing out a 3m long 6 euros pole (don't bother unless you want do some really close margin fishing). Once you are a meter back from the edge (for safety purposes), you are literally only fishing about 2 meters out. Following on from our last few sessions our maggots had turned in castors and we had about 6 maggots left to use. Castors had not been soaked so floated. We had a few worms and some sweetcorn. Gg baited up the swim to practice her hand aiming. No fancy shipping out and cupping in. Just old school baiting by hand. And very accurate 85% of the time she was too!

We had two hours and again, with no knowledge, we really set up at the first swim we came to that was beside a small tree feature. I said I was happy to just get a bite to know that there were some fish there. An hour passed and nothing on any bait, not even a stray fish!

Finally a bite on maggot. A Roach with really red fins and a yellow eye, weird I thought! I now know from writing this article and wondering what fish a Rotengle was, that I had actually caught a Rudd.

More information about fishing at Fossemagne Étang can be found on the Fédération Pêche Dordogne website.

You can also view some personal photos here Saint-Antoind-d'Auberoche & the Local Area.

TLDR : Summary

1. I am back into fishing after a 30 year break.

2. Book the Gîte for your fishing holiday in Dordogne.

3. Buy a fishing permit from the fishing tackle shop located in Montignac.

4. A day permit costs 10€ to 15€ depending upon the time of year, and a weeky permit is 33€.

5. Like everything in France the regulations are complicated, so please do read the information above.

6. In Thenon fish sweetcorn for large roach and bream. Fish apple pop ups for Carp.

7. For now Fossemagne is still a mystery but I have had Perch and Rudd on maggots, so there must be more bigger ones!

8. Enjoy your time fishing in Dordogne/Périgord and we are sure you will enjoy your stay with us in Gîte Lau Pito Meizou.

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions or need any further information, please do not hesite to get in touch. My wife is French so she can take care of anything more technical that you may want to ask.


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Gîte Lau Pito Meizou is a self catering rural holiday gîte. The gîte is located in the heart of the Dordogne, in the picturesque Périgord Blanc countryside. The gîtes central location provides easy access to Périgueux and the top tourist attractions in Dordogne. The gîte features an exclusive, secluded and secure swimming pool, with pool barrier and child safety entry gate. A shaded terrace and BBQ for dining ‘al fresco’. Its own private secluded garden and convenient parking beside the gîte …

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